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16-18 Purdue St, Belconnen, ACT
(Parking via Gillott Street)
Mon - Fri: 8:30am - 5:30pm
Saturday: 8:30am - 1:00pm
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Canberra Cat Vet Blog

Silent killer - heart disease

Friday, October 26, 2018


Heart disease in cats often remains undiagnosed until the heart fails - just like in humans. If we're lucky a vet may become suspicious when a cat loses weight without any abnormalities in the annual blood tests.
A heart murmur in a cat may mean advanced heart disease - or it may mean nothing. Some cats have heart murmurs with no underlying disease. Other cats have perfectly normal sounding hearts and die of heart failure.
The most common form of heart disease is Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM). The walls of the heart thicken so that the volume of blood it can pump gets less and less.
Cats with Hyperthyroidism commonly have heart disease which is partially reversed when the hyperthyroidism is treated.
Echocardiography (or ultrasound) of the heart diagnoses the type of heart disease. An X-ray tells us if the lungs or the chest cavity are filling with fluid because heart is not pumping properly.
A special blood test called a ProBNP is sometimes run if a vet is worried that your cat might have heart disease and echocardiography is not available.
A cat with heart disease should be monitored with chest X-rays until fluid accumulation indicates that diuretics (fluids medication) are necessary. Once on diuretics we monitor electrolyte blood levels closely.

Thyroid troubles

Thursday, August 09, 2018


Is your old cat ravenous - but losing weight no matter what you feed him? Often this is the first sign of an overactive thyroid gland. Many hyperthyroid cats are also more tetchy, demanding or restless than when they were younger. Observant carers might notice occasional vomiting or toileting outside the litter box. Some cats pant or don't look after their coats very well. Hyperthyroidism makes all body systems work harder including the heart, kidneys and bowels.

While all these signs individually might be put down to old age any one or more of them make our vets very suspicious of a thyroid nodule producing too much thyroxine - hyperthyroidism. Too much thyroxine accelerates aging and puts a strain on all the body's organs.

A capsule of Radioactive Iodine (RAI) in an otherwise healthy cat cures hyperthyroidism. To check if your cat is a candidate for RAI blood and urine is collected to confirm hyperthyroidism and check kidneys, liver and other organs.

If your cat has other problems like kidney disease then daily medication as a tablet or transdermal gel is easy and convenient.

Kitty on speed

Monday, March 24, 2014

Sometimes cats get more active and hyper as they get older - rushing up trees, attacking long term doggy and feline friends, resenting handling and generally being jumpy. 
 If this is coupled with a big appetite and weight loss then we become suspicious of an overactive thyroid. Early detection and treatment prevents the more serious effects of hyperthyroidism. 
The overproduction of the thyroid hormone puts the whole body into overdrive.  The heart beats more rapidly and can go out of rhythm. The kidneys and liver work harder causing increased thirst and urination. A busy stomach and intestine may produce vomiting and diarrhoea or accidents outside the litter box. Severely affected cats pant and neglect their grooming. 
Several treatment options are available. There's sure to be one that suits your cat and household situation.

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